Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Arar has no rights in the US

It would appear that the American judicial system reserves the right to commit injustice against non-citizens. From Jurist Legal News and Research:
In 2004 Arar filed a lawsuit in US federal court challenging US extraordinary rendition practices under the Torture Victim Protection Act. Arar's lawyers argued the Act provides the US court with jurisdiction over cases involving civil rights abuses committed abroad, including Arar's case, but US District Judge David G. Trager dismissed the case in February of this year, citing "the national security and foreign policy considerations at stake" and holding that Arar, as a non-citizen, could not raise a constitutional right to due process. Arar is appealing that decision. (Emphasis mine)

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding Trager, but it sure seems to me like he's saying the US government has carte blanche to commit civil rights abuses against non-citizens. Can selective application of justice be understood to be justice at all?

In the meanwhile, O'Connor is urging the Canadian government to "register 'a formal objection' with both the United States and Syria concerning their treatment of Arar."

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john said...

I'm concerned about the Justice Departments continued use of Tollen to take cases out from under judicial review. In Arar's case, Masri's , Hamadan, Hamdi- they continue to use national security as the basis for their actions.

If the Canadian goverment hadn't ordered an inquiry, we would never know how the US goverment cooperated with a terrorist sponsor to torture a Canadian citizen.

Under all international standards, even if the US believed Arar had tenuous links to Al Qa'edah members, he should have been deported back to Canada.

That our CIA is cooperating with Assad's regime turns my stomach and makes me wonder just how many Arabs are being held under such tenuous bad information.

Janet said...

That is really the point. When the mere fact of being suspected is enough to remove all safeguards, we have a problem. There is no telling how many are perfectly innocent. And once you start invoking national security at every turn... we have no protection left from despotism.

And that is much more frightening to me than the occasional terrorist attack. Let's face it, we lose many more people every year to traffic and gun accidents. People are over-reacting and playing up the danger.

Finally though, for me, it comes down to a question of ethics. Right and wrong is not negotiable, and we can't abandon them at the slightest hint of a threat to our safety. That is just plain gutless and just plain wrong.


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